Saturday, August 20, 2011

New lamb

Here is the Houdini of sheep, Woolly Jumper (the main culprit of the great vegetable patch sheep rampage of the previous post) and her brand-new lamb born last Monday. He's a beauty, nice and strong and putting on weight at a great rate. This photo was taken on Wednesday, and his body has filled out a lot in three days. He is also much too fast to catch and cuddle. Sigh. They grow up too quickly.
It's lovely when we start the new lambs are born. This year, though, it is bittersweet. This year's batch of lambs will be the last sired by our ram-of-long-standing, Rambo. We had him for seven years and he was pretty old then. So it wasn't too surprising when about 6 weeks ago, without any warning, we found him in the paddock. Very sad - Rambo was our friendliest sheep, and he always came up to say hello when you went out. More likely, he was checking out whether you had anything to eat. Never mind, we miss him.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Getting ready for spring

Don't blink or you'll miss it - our vegie patch looking tidy!

I call myself a slapdash gardener mainly because although I enjoy gardening, I'm not very consistent. I tend to have massive days in the vegie patch working like a maniac, interspersed with utter neglect except for picking. Our vegies have to be tough, because once they are in, it's every vegie for itself. Even with such shocking neglect, though, we manage to harvest quite a bit.

Here is how it looked yesterday after one of those massive days on Sunday. I should have taken a "before" photo. Picture these beds covered with weeds and the fence posts askew, spent eggplant, tomato and capsicum bushes (I wanted to see how long they would last before they threw in the towel - mid July is the answer), with lettuces struggling to maintain their foothold, after being shorn by the sheep who got in a few weeks ago and being smothered by weeds. Not a good look.

So I got the 13 year old to start hammering in those fence posts straight again, and fixing the holes in the fence. Meanwhile I weeded. And weeded. And weeded. Heartening to see the garden full of earthworms, so while it doesn't look like much, good stuff is happening where it counts. Then I sent the 13 year old to pick up buckets of sheep poo (I bribed him with his favourite Caramel Banana pudding for dessert that night- using my very last pre Cyclone Yasi frozen banana.) and flung that on the weeded soil. Meanwhile I was harvesting chicken poo (the glamour doesn't stop here) and flung that dung as well. Took the weeds up to the compost heap, brought back compost and stuck that on too. By now I was coming over all Peter Cundall-like. "Look at that!" I said to Action Man. "That's beautiful stuff that is!" And it was.

Lastly I mulched everything, because even though weeds grow through the mulch, it does slow their growth - somewhat.

Now I am thinking about what to plant in a few weeks time when it starts to warm up. This year I'd like to really get into growing more plants from seed. So far I've only really grown dwarf beans, lettuce and tomatoes from seed. The rest of the time I cheat with seedlings I buy at the local market.

In light of that, it was a very timely surprise to receive a gift of seeds - watermelon and yin yang beans - from Tracy at Sunny Corner Farm, along with a dishcloth too nice to use. Looking forward to trying out this seed growing caper, especially with watermelon which we have never grown before. Thank you, Tracy!